The Cost for Quality

Has anyone noticed the rampant increase in e-book publishing companies?  They are scattered all over the internet, offering to publish your book in e-book format.  Does anyone else raise an eyebrow at this?

I saw one such publisher last night and it made me stop and think.  What can they do, that I can’t?

  • I can get my own editor
  • I can get my own graphic designer for my books
  • I can do my own marketing
  • I can earn a full commission instead of sharing it with an e-book publisher

So why would you need an e-book publisher?

There are two answers that I can think of.  (Perhaps more but it’s early and my brain isn’t fully switched on yet.)

1. Either people don’t realize how “easy” is it to do it themselves and reap all of the benefits from self-publishing.

2. They want someone, other than themselves, backing them.

Now I’m not going to name this particular e-book publisher that I saw, because they are loads out there just like it, but I will share what I noticed from their website.

The book covers looked cheesy.  Like made for TV movie cheese.  Now, granted, they were still better than a lot of e-book covers that I have seen, but you expect better quality from a publisher.

When reading their FAQ page, there were typos.  Not little ones, mind you.  BIG ugly typos that had me chuckling to myself.  Did they actually read through the four paragraphs they wrote?  Did not inspire confidence, let me tell you!

So for those of you who are looking to self-publish, are you aware of the costs to get started?

Here are a few that I have noticed over the past year:

  • Editing- a must (trust me, I know!) I have been quoted anywhere from $700 up to $2000 depending on what you are looking for.  Professional editors bring a wealth of experience to the table, but it is going to cost you.  But trust me, self-editing is rough.  You miss things. And no matter how many times you go back in to fix things, people still notice one more.
  • Book cover- this is where it can get interesting.  My original book cover was a photograph that a friend of mine took.  I loved it, bought the right to use it and threw it up on Amazon.  It looked fantastic, in my opinion, but it didn’t attract the sales I was really looking for.  So I had no choice but to change it.  I then moved up to stock photo.  I paid $50 and downloaded images for Forbidden, Reckoning and the upcoming Redemption.  I added my own font style, title and author name and voila, I had a new book cover for $50.  I was thrilled.  But now that I’m moving forward into my next trilogy, due out Fall 2012, I realized that I needed something that a stock photo couldn’t give me.  I needed a graphic designer.  This is where the cost starts to add up.  For the next book I release, Defiance Rising, it will cost me about $500 for the cover.  For the skill level of this designer, I feel that it is more than worth it to get exactly what I want.
  • Marketing- this can be as expensive or cheap as you want.  There are book blog tours, Facebook/Goodreads ads, giveaways,
    FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    posters, banners, graphic design for blogs, book marks, postcards, business cards, etc.  This is an area that can get really costly if you let it.  There are countless free things you can do to promote, but sometimes you have to spend money to make it.

  • Formatting- this is another cost that is up to you.  If you take the time, read the tutorials, you can format your own e-book for free.  But some people feel overwhelmed or simply think they can’t do it and they fork out the cash for someone else to format their book.
  • Paperback- I use Createspace Print on Demand.  I don’t have piles of books filling up my room.  No huge set-up fees.  Createspace is a free way to get your book in print.  They even offer a free ISBN-number if you choose to use it.  You can order as many books as you want, or none.  It is up to you.
  • E-book set-up- I use Amazon and my set-up cost is $0.  It is free to upload.  You can either set your price under $2.99 and make a 35% commission, or at $2.99 and above for 70% commission.

Those are the main costs that you will incur when considering self-publication.  Like most authors, budget is a major factor when publishing.  This is why many people try to go through a publisher.  But if you can invest money into your own books, you can produce a quality product and reap the benefits of the higher commission rates.

The cost for quality can be steep, but it is well worth it.  Your readers will thank you 🙂

 

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